U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, voted for the measure to extend federal unemployment benefits.
U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, a Republican, voted against it.
It ended up passing 59-38 late Monday afternoon, April 8, though the U.S. House still has to take it up.
In short, Donnelly voted for the proposal as a means to make sure the unemployed have a way to scrape by while looking for work. Coats voted no, saying any extension should be accompanied by broader reform provisions and should have a revenue source to cover its cost. Here are the statements from Indiana's two senators:
Donnelly: “There are still too many Hoosiers out of work, and we need to make sure families have food on the table while mom or dad looks for a job," he said in a statement. "This bill passed with support from Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and I am hopeful my colleagues in the House will also act in a bipartisan manner and extend these emergency unemployment benefits.”
Coats: “I support helping those truly in need, but the unemployment insurance benefits program needs to be reformed to ensure that it works better and is connecting those who are unemployed with available jobs,” he said in a statement. “Since the debate on extending these benefits began, I said that any extension must be paid for and include measures to reform the program. I offered several amendments to achieve these goals, but rather than allow an open debate, the majority leader blocked all amendments, including mine. Because this legislation does not include reforms this program needs, I cannot support an extension of benefits.”
According to Donnelly's statement, the legislation "would extend long-term emergency unemployment compensation for five months, including three months retroactively." Around 40,000 people in Indiana who lost their federal jobless benefits when they expired late last December (look here) would be eligible for continued coverage under the extension.